Andalusia, Spain: where it is, when to go and what to see

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Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Andalusia is the hottest region of Spain. From all points of view. First of all it is located in the southern part of the country, from its coasts in fact Africa can be seen. Furthermore, it is a Region rich in marvelous monuments that reflect its historical vicissitudes; in fact, Muslims, Christians and Gypsies passed through here. Everywhere there is an intriguing combination of styles in which Spanish and Arabic characteristics blend harmoniously with extremely fascinating results. Presents great variety also from a geo-morphological and climatic point of view. In fact, sea and mountains, sand and woods, remote villages and crowded cities coexist.

Here it is for you a small guide on Andalusia, in Spain: where is it, when to go and what to see!



Index

  1. Travel informed: useful information
  2. Where it is
  3. How to reach us
  4. When to go? Info on climate and best time
  5. The main cities
  6. 10 things to see: the places of interest in Andalusia
  7. The main itineraries in Andalusia
  8. What to do in Andalusia: excursions and tours
  9. How much does a holiday in Andalusia cost? Prices, offers and advice
  10. User questions and comments

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants: 8.403.350
  • Capital: Seville
  • Languages: Castilian and Andalus (in eastern Andalusian andalûh, in Spanish andaluz) is a variant of spoken Spanish, a kind of dialect
  • Local currency: euro (€)
  • Weather: Mediterranean on the coast; in the Guadalquivir depression where the most interesting tourist sites are located (Seville, Cordoba) the summer is very hot (average of 36 °), while the winter becomes a little colder, especially at night
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

    Where it is

    In southern Spain, Andalusia is spread over an area of ​​87.597 sq km, equal to approximately 17,3% of the Spanish territory. Throughout its southern half it is bathed by the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the Strait of Gibraltar separates it from Africa while, to the north, the Sierra Morena divides it from the Meseta.
    The geographical configuration is one of the elements that gives Andalusia uniqueness. They can be distinguished three large areas, formed by the interaction of different factors that influence the physical environment: the Sierra Morena, the Betic Cordillera and the Betic Depression.



    How to reach us

    By plane

    The Autonomous Community of Andalusia has 6 international airports: Seville, Malaga, Granada, Almeria, Cordoba and Jerez de la Frontera. Among these, only Aeropuerto de Sevilla, Aeropuerto de Málaga - Costa del Sol and Aeropuerto Federico García Lorca Granada- Jaén offer direct flights from Italian airports. The companies that operate the route are Alitalia and Iberia but also the low-cost Ryanair, EasyJet, Vueling and Volotea. With the latter, you can find excellent offers with tickets at € 100,00 round trip. From Rome, the flight lasts between 2 and a half hours and 3 hours. - Compare flights from Rome or Milan

    By bus or train

    The plane remains the best way to reach Andalusia, but there are still other options. For example, there are international coaches that they connect the main Italian cities with the region: such as Flixbus, Baltour, Marinobus and Blablabus. The journey to be faced is quite long, about 35 and a half hours from Milan, so not recommended if you have little time. Prices range from € 171,00 to € 242,00 each way.

    As for the train, there is no direct rail link, you will have to make several changes in the main cities. The train connection is made with Thello, SNCF and Trenitalia. The journey takes between 24 and 28 hours and the cost is between € 138,00 and € 285,00 each way.


    By car

    Travel is very long but doable if you have time to dedicate and you want to experience a wonderful on the road. The duration of the trip obviously depends on the starting point.

    The fastest route is certainly the one that plans to cross the Italian border from Liguria to the French border. Once you arrive in Ventimiglia and have passed through French territory, take the A8 / E80 motorway and follow it up to Marseille where you must take the A54 / E80 towards Nimes. From here take the A9 / E15 towards Barcelona. The French motorway connects directly to the Spanish E-15 / AP-7: from this point on, always straight on to Valencia. From here, take exit 527 (Alicante, Albacete) and then continue on the A7 (which becomes E15 and A92N) which passes through Murcia to Granada. The main approximate distances are: from Milan 2.000 km - from Rome, 2.400 km - from Naples 2.600 km - from Palermo 3.200 km.


    By ferry

    Traveling by ferry is a viable alternative. It is necessary to consider that the travel time increases. For example, from Savona / Genoa to Barcelona the times are approximately 18 hours of navigation. The company that operates the most routes to Barcelona is Grimaldi Ferries.

    Starting from Northern Italy, reach Savona and embark for Barcelona; from then on you have to proceed by car as the previous route; alternatively it is necessary to embark from Savona to Tangier and from Tangier to take the ferry to Malaga. Starting from Central and Southern Italy, embark in Civitavecchia for Barcelona and follow the route by car proposed above.


    When to go? Info on climate and best time

    • Weather: it ranges from the Mediterranean climate of the coasts, which becomes cool and windy in the southern tip and arid in the eastern part, to the Mediterranean climate but with very hot summer in the Guadalquivir plain, to the semi-continental climate of the low mountain areas, to the alpine climate in high mountain areas. The sea is not very warm; it gets a little warm in summer (23 ° / 24 °)
    • Best time: April, May and October are ideal for artistic / cultural visits because the climate is mild and pleasant, even if sometimes it can rain. If the purpose is to live on the beach and the sea then summer is perfect
    • Period to avoid: no one in particular. In winter you can find several pleasant days in the plains, sunny and spring, even if at night it can get cold in inland areas, and waves of bad weather are not excluded.
    • Advice: comfortable, informal and light clothing. A few mid-season garments and a little heavier for the winter. Beach equipment if you go to the beach

    The main cities

    1. Seville: capital of the region itself where direct flights land. There are must-see attractions such as the Giralda, Plaza de Espana and the Alcazaba. Last but not least, the homeland of flamenco
    2. Granada: known all over the world for the Alhambra, the palace / fortress that attracts thousands of tourists every year, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Direct flights land here too
    3. Cordoba: one of the "big three" of Andalusia, in which Arab atmospheres are most breathed. It was an important Roman city and one of the main centers of Islam during the Middle Ages. It is most famous for the Mezquita
    4. Rum raisin: city ​​on the Costa del Sol, perfect for sea life, sun and relaxation. It is worth a visit from a cultural point of view for the two huge local fortresses: the Alcazaba and the Gibralfaro castle. The majestic cathedral is nicknamed La Manquita
    5. Cadiz: directly on the sea, the oldest city in the West founded by the Phoenicians. The happiest city in Andalusia, with a fun-loving population and a wild Carnival famous throughout Europe

    10 things to see: the places of interest in Andalusia

    1. Alcázar of Seville: Moorish fortified palace, a masterpiece of Mudejar architecture. Nearby, the Cathedral and the Giralda
    2. Mezquita of Cordoba: immense cathedral re-adapted by Christians after the Reconquista on the foundations of what was once a mosque dating back to the year 785. Riot of red and white arches and columns
    3. Alhambra of Granada: spectacular residential complex built in different eras by various sultans and emperors. Finely decorated Moorish palaces and wonderful gardens in the Generalife with fountains and water features
    4. Almeria: in a strategic position to visit the Cabo de Gata Natural Park where there are the most beautiful beaches in all of Andalusia (San Pedro, San José, de los Genoveses, Cala Los Amarillos, playa del Monsul and others) and the Tabernas desert
    5. El Tajo of Ronda: Perched on the steep gorges of the Guadalevín, Ronda is characterized by the overhang of 200 meters that divides the city into two parts, joined by the Puente Nuevo. The city is also home to the oldest bullring in Spain
    6. Cadiz: due to its position on the sea, its climate and its colors it is called "Habanita", little Havana. Different from most of the neighboring cities, it has no Islamic vestiges, nor medieval buildings, but important Roman remains
    7. Doñana National Park: between Cadiz and Huelva, a park that stands out for its dunes, marshes, pine forests, rare animals and the beautiful village of El Rocio that evokes the atmosphere of the Far West
    8. Jerez de la Frontera: the city of Andalusian horses. The ideal place to attend a spectacular performance. Homeland of a fortified wine known at home as Jerez and in the rest of the world as Sherry, to be tasted in a typical bodegas
    9. Costa del Sol: one of the most important and popular tourist areas in the country thanks to its climate (average temperature 22 ° and 6 months of summer). Among the attractions of the area, there are also numerous golf courses. The best known locations: Marbella and Torremolinos
    10. Ubeda and Baeza: two of the most beautiful towns in Spain, Renaissance masterpieces, long Unesco World Heritage. Immersed in a sea of ​​olive trees, they are located in the province of Jaen, in the northeastern corner of Andalusia

    The main itineraries in Andalusia

    A trip to Andalusia as it should, must last at least 8/10 days to see the most important cities calmly. If you have fewer days available, you are forced to make choices, but you can still visit the musts. Those who have more days at their disposal, on the other hand, can take a classic tour enriched with "goodies" a little less famous but no less beautiful and interesting. Specifically, typical villages, natural parks, as well as traditional experiences such as flamenco shows and performances of the horses of Jerez de la Frontera.

    Since Andalusia extends along the coast of southern Spain and is lapped by the waters, there is also the possibility of designing an itinerary that follows the coast and go to touch purely seaside resorts, for a relaxing holiday


    1. Classic Andalusia: a tour that touches the main cities of the region in one week. A different stop every day, passing through Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Malaga, Costa del Sol, Gibraltar and Cadiz
    2. The soul of Andalusia: itinerary that, in addition to the main stages, enters the depths of the region, touching less known and naturalistic places. You can visit Malaga, Alhambra, Úbeda and Baeza, Cazorla National Park, Cordoba, Seville, Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz, Ronda
    3. Andalusia easy: a tour designed for those who have a few days (maximum 5) but do not want to lose the essence of the region. The stops are the three major cities, Seville, Cordoba and Granada
    4. The Andalusian coast: itinerary designed for those who want to enjoy healthy relaxation on the Costa del Sol and Costa de la Luz. The stops are Malaga, Torremolinos, Mijas, Fuengirolas, Marbella, San Pedro de Alcántara, Estepona, Cadiz, Gibraltar, Algeciras, Tarifa, Jerez de la Frontera

    What to do in Andalusia: excursions and tours

    How much does a holiday in Andalusia cost? Prices, offers and advice

    Andalusia is a low-cost destination.
    Starting from the flights, which are around € 70,00. For accommodation there are accommodations of all types. Everything varies based on multiple factors and, first of all, the location you choose as a base. Obviously, a resort on the Costa del Sol will be much more expensive than a family-run hotel in the outskirts of Granada. The seaside area is also teeming with campsites, the perfect choice to make sure you save.

    Attractions have entrance costs more than fair, considering their beauty and the importance they hold worldwide. Suffice it to mention the case of the Alhambra in Granada whose admission prices start from € 14,00.

    Finally, the best way to visit Andalusia is turn it independently. If you do not reach the destination with your own vehicle, you can choose to rent one directly there. The prices are very good, a week in July starting from € 136,00.

    • Hotel and b & b starting from € 36,00 per room -
    • starting from € 70,00 -
    • Return flight + 5 days / 4 nights from € 308,00 per person -


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